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Never Have I Failed
by Winnie Khaw

Never have I failed in my self-appointed duty
Of scoffing at all things of apparent beauty
(Of which I have none, but that’s beside the point)
To scorn and disdain, to utterly disappoint
All expectations for something of gratifying “fun”
I quickly disabuse the audience of the notion and shun
Morality now has taken on horrifying distortions
(Kindly overlook my figure’s equally terrible proportions)
Please listen to the following tale
Provided, of course, you find it stale

A foolish rich man liked to pretend he had died
To see who in the audience would be dry-eyed
“To whom should I leave my goods and riches?”
He’d ponder aloud, “Or only my well-worn britches?”
And after a thoroughly convincing death scene,
Amid some weeping and looking at the will, obscene
Curses would arise concerning certain articles
As well as those left without a single particle
“Ah ha!” he’d sit up chortling and crow with a shout
“You there, son! I know what you’re about!”
Five times he did enact this without a bit of shame
Relatives killed by heart attacks thought him much to blame
Finally only the preacher was left who had not rejoiced
At the man’s apparent death, and so in his will he voiced
To bequeath all worldly goods to that single pastor
In case there befell him some sort of terrible disaster
And indeed one fine day the man chanced to die
Without the opportunity to even say a final goodbye
At the funeral: “He was a great man,” the preacher said
Then, nervously, “That is, ahem, if he’s actually dead.”

A certain husband could not bear his particular wife
Good Heaven save us from all domestic strife!
Yet ‘tis only just, for the wife her husband scorned
And unfortunate him all with scolds and taunts adorned
“Oh ho, to your shameful exploits I shan’t be blind
Oh woe the day I the marriage contract signed!”
She’d say, and he’d to this angry lament made reply,
“And for you to my happy freedom I said goodbye!
“Alack and alas, that I am not deaf but soundly hear
Such noise and cackling as to make sense disappear.”
For this nice gentleman liked to make the rounds
Of the pretty young girls in the near surrounds
Of the neighborhood, and the gossips at church
Gleefully would make known to the wife their research
Thus, having a care for his civil life and tender ears
The man surrendered his right to infidelity for the year
Morosely he fell to watering his heretofore forlorn garden
And gruffly asking his gracious wife to pardon
His former deeds of neglect and ill-use of her grace
And swore he’d certainly and at once give up the chase